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The Holy Spirit, the Breath of the Divine

Farmers are obsessed with the weather.  It is their go-to conversation regardless of where you see them, when you talk to them, or why you ran into them.  You could bump into them at the county fair in the middle of summer and they will comment on this hot weather and tell you that if we don’t get rainfall soon, their whole crop will be ruined.  You could stand next to them in a funeral line in January, and they will speak of busted water lines from the extreme cold snap we are in.  Or you could run into them at the local high school graduation and they might share some stories of tractors getting buried in mud due to a wet spring.


Blue Tractor stuck in the Spring mud
Tractor Stuck in the Mud

Most people discuss the weather because it is an easy icebreaker, as it is something that everybody has in common.  However, farmers discuss it because it significantly impacts their livelihood.  I grew up discussing the weather as a farm kid, so here I am, well into adulthood and it’s still my go-to.


I usually don’t even realize I’m doing it because it comes so naturally!  I will freak out over a 70* day in October and tell everyone I run into how BEAUTIFUL this weather is.  I will do the same on an unseasonably early spring day, during one of the first snowfalls of the year, or every evening in the summer when the temp is below 80*. 


Conversely, I will have a critical remark when the conditions aren’t exactly right.  It happens more than I care to admit.  One of the things that really bothers me is a strong, cold wind.  I can handle a warm summer wind, as it is usually a welcome relief!  But that cold wind just chills you to the bone and makes my ears hurt.



leaves blowing in foreground, trees in background
Windy Minnesota Fall

Wind is such a strange thing.  Where does it come from?  Where does it go?  (Don’t start singing the Cotton Eye Joe…)  Sometimes it is strong enough to fell a tree, and other times is barely noticeable.  I could find some scientific sources that would explain it to me… I think we recently covered this in one of my kid’s science curricula… but that takes all of the drama out of it.  I love that it is a mystery.  I love that it is an untamed, wild creature that is a powerful monster one moment, and a gentle kiss the next.


I like to think of the Holy Spirit in a similar matter.  To me, He is the wind of God.

 “The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it is coming from and where it is going; so is everyone who has been born of the Spirit.”

John 3:8


The Holy Spirit seems so mysterious.  In the Creed, we profess that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son.  What does that even mean?


The Blessed Trinity with God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, along with Our Blessed Mother Mary
The Blessed Trinity

The Holy Spirit IS the love between the Father and the Son.  The Father and Son love each other so much that their love for each other IS the third person of the Blessed Trinity.


Is your head spinning?  Mine sure is.  The Holy Trinity is something that we call a “strict” mystery.  That is something that we cannot fully understand and must accept through the eyes of faith.  This mystery was revealed to us by Jesus Christ Himself and was something that we did not know until He revealed it, but even then, we cannot fully understand it.

We may not come close to understanding the 3 Persons of the Blessed Trinity, but we can spend some time getting to know those Persons. 


The Holy Spirit comes to live in our souls the moment we are baptized.  The Holy Spirit is the life of our soul, so as long as we remain in the state of grace, He will never leave us.

The Holy Spirit is also the life of the Church.  When members of the Church receive the Sacraments, they receive sanctifying grace from the Holy Spirit through the Church.


Pentecost with tongues of fire
The Descent of the Holy Spirit Upon the Apostles and Mary at Pentecost

Last Sunday we celebrated Pentecost- the birthday of the Catholic Church!  Right before Jesus ascended into Heaven, He told His apostles that they would “be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days hence.”  And that “You shall receive the power of the Holy Spirit coming upon you.”


“Suddenly there came a sound from Heaven, as of a mighty wind coming, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting.”


The Acts of the Apostles is filled with the brave deeds of the newly transformed apostles.  The frightened group became warriors for their Savior.

 

“Blessed are You, O Christ our God. You made the fishermen all-wise by sending down upon them the Holy Spirit and through them You drew the world into Your net O Lover of mankind, glory to You.” 


"When the Most High came down and confused the tongues, he divided the nations. But when he distributed the tongues of fire, he called all to unity. Therefore, with one voice, we glorify the All-Holy Spirit! "

-Greek Orthodox Dismissal Hymns of Pentecost

 

In his Encyclical on the Holy Spirit, Pope St. John Paul II says that, “The breath of the divine life, the Holy Spirit, in its simplest and most common manner, expresses itself and makes itself felt in prayer. It is a beautiful and salutary thought that, wherever people are praying in the world, there the Holy Spirit is, the living breath of prayer.”

 

What a powerful notion!  The Holy Spirit comes alive and is stirred up through prayer.  Like the experience of wind, there will be times when the Holy Spirit is barely noticeable, but there are other times when the Spirit roars like a fire, lighting a blaze in the hearts of the faithful.

Holy Spirit, Monstrance, Candles, Adoration Eucharist
The Holy Spirit Moving through Prayer

Come, Holy Spirit,

fill the hearts of your faithful

and kindle in them the fire of your love.

Send forth your Spirit

and they shall be created,

and you shall renew the face of the earth.


O God, who have taught the hearts of the faithful

By the light of the Holy Spirit,

Grant that in the same Spirit we may be truly wise

And ever rejoice in His consolation.

Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

 

Until next time, your sister in Christ,


Leah

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